Truth In Government President, Joseph DioGuardi, continues his mission in the private sector. Watch the following interview with CNBC Street Signs. This is why we can’t depend on China!
Truth In Government President, Joseph DioGuardi, continues his mission in the private sector. Watch the following interview with CNBC Street Signs. This is why we can’t depend on China!
“DioGuardi’s rendering of America’s fiscal plight still rings true: Our elected officials, party leaders and supposed appointed experts still don’t have it right after 18 years!”
DioGuardi’s Tea Party Manifesto On Cleaning Up Congress
By Robert A. Fois
U.S. Senate candidate Joe DioGuardi has been warning Americans about public debt and wasteful spending for over 20 years. New York’s pied piper of fiscal common sense is a certified public accountant who authored a primer on cleaning up public finance in 1992.
“Unaccountable Congress” does for the Tea Party movement what Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense” did for the American Revolution. This was a call to action that preceded the “Contract With America” by two years. DioGuardi’s story is drawn from events and life experience before Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980.
The former Congressman wrote the “How To” book on public economics after serving two terms in the House of Representatives from 1985-1989.
Now DioGuardi has reissued “Unaccountable Congress: It Doesn’t Add Up” with a new forward, preface and additional information reflecting upon our current economic crisis.
Two terms in Congress left DioGuardi disillusioned and determined to change things:
“If every American understood how Congress – and, frequently, the Executive Branch as well – relentlessly disguises and hides fiscal reality from the people, that knowledge would escalate citizen contempt to an even higher level”
Constitutionalists, conservatives and fiscal reformers alike can gain something from this book on how to stop those “cooking the books” in Congress and our statehouses around the country.
The Most Expensive Credit Card In The World
When I first read “Unaccountable Congress: It Doesn’t Add Up” in 1992, many were already familiar with Joe DioGuardi’s speech about a Congressional voting card being like a credit card.
This was never a standup comedy routine.
Our elected officials do vote with a credit card. There is no limit on what they can borrow. They can vote to expand the debt limit, held accountable to no public authority.
Congress regularly sends us the bill – and DioGuardi’s cautionary tale about future generations bearing the brunt of expanding liabilities is no longer hyperbole.
Our children and grandchildren will pay the bill. Worse, the accelerating debt in recent years is leaving a larger tax bill on our doorsteps.
DioGuardi calculated in 1992 that each individual American would owe a little over $31,000 to cover the actual national debt. Now in 2010, $569,330 would be charged to every taxpayer (today this amounts to approximately $190,000 per individual) of the United States to cover the bill.
It was a novel idea when Joe first stood up and waved that card around. Sadly, few were listening in 1992.
At over a half a million dollars a person, this fiscal madness could have been stopped sooner.
The CPA’s warnings about out of control debt were not taken seriously then.
They aren’t being taken seriously now, except the game changer has been all these tea parties.
DioGuardi’s book lends perspective on why and how tea party activism will be important. His good government organization, Truth In Government, focuses the energy into a handful of ideas based on Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).
In addition to embracing accrual accounting, improving fiscal reporting, empowering a Chief Financial Officer as a Cabinet-level position and pushing Congress to balance its books, DioGuardi wants independent auditing of our national budget.
“Create a new, independent body like the Federal Reserve System to promulgate sound budgeting and accounting that will prevent political manipulation and conflicts of interest, removing once and for all the perennial confusion about the real size of our annual budget deficits and our national debt”
It’s time to teach Congress to how to count the right way — the way that the SEC imposes by law on publicly traded companies to protect shareholders.
Isn’t it time to protect the Taxpayers from future fiscal manipulation?
The Congressional Blind Eye
Chapter Two is entitled “Plastic Budgeting” and outlines varying budget gimmickry that conceals the depths of our fiscal problems.
DioGuardi quotes David Stockman, the former director of the Office of Management & Budget (OMB) under President Ronald Reagan, who warned about “accounting gimmicks, evasions, half-truths and downright dishonesty in our budget numbers, debate and advocacy.”
“Indeed, if the Securities and Exchange Commission had jurisdiction over the executive and legislative branches, many of us would be in jail.”
DioGuardi explains how inflated economic projections “fudge” revenue estimates and how the biggest debts often are kept on another balance sheet. These off-budget items are hidden from the public, put off for a rainy day … another year … future decades … undoubtedly laying literal trillions of uncounted debt upon the next generations.
“Unaccountable Congress” is a personal story about “Joey The Waiter” heading to Washington. DioGuardi doesn’t aggrandize his life story. He jumps right to the problems in our nation’s capitol and provides solutions.
Suggested reforms include: Spending control amendments, two year budgets, sensible revenue projections, accrual accounting that better identifies current and future liabilities, expanded Presidential rescission authority, stiffer budget deadlines and firmer restrictions on appropriations.
Finally, DioGuardi proposes just “cutting the card” and ending America’s reliance on irresponsible borrowing.
More important, DioGuardi draws from Peter Drucker’s concept of “participatory government” – and stresses that citizens must drive reforms (the last chapter could just as easily been called “Start Your Own Tea Party”).
“Mr. Jefferson had the right idea. Unless the people can control their government, it is no longer theirs … It is time, indeed past time, for those who stand for truth in government to create a “Truth in Government” coalition to bring about some fundamental reform.”
Eighteen years ago, DioGuardi was calling for more initiative and referenda, along with “groups fighting government waste and abuse, groups representing the taxpayers, groups of businesses small and large, good government groups, and just about everyone who is not a party to or a beneficiary of the present web of fiscal deception.”
DioGuardi was on the first page of the tea party experience before Reagan, before Gingrich, before Perot and before the 9/12 marchers converged on Congress.
An Accountant’s Perspective
$60 trillion PLUS (+) later, now almost five times more than what the national debt is reported by the Federal government, DioGuardi’s mission makes sense. It’s true that a fellow named Gingrich would repackage a lot of the same ideas as a Contract With America; first with tea party like wins for Republicans in 1994, then as “leaders” of a revolution more consumed with their clippings than getting the job done.
It didn’t work for a lot of reasons. Perhaps the Contract needed an accountant’s perspective? “Unaccountable” predicts why even Republicans would stumble, since the financial problems were endemic to the legal and procedural/institutional process of counting (or not counting) in Congress.
It is no wonder that fellow D.C. survivors like Dick Armey are rightfully defining the Tea Party movement as a “leaderless revolution” – rejecting the demagogue-model put forth by Gingrich in the 1990s. DioGuardi had already gone one step further, almost rejecting political parties and the parasitic government structures feeding on federal largesse.
DioGuardi’s mindset was derived from working in the private sector and also from witnessing New York City’s own financial misadventures.
Joe DioGuardi’s mission to balance the government’s books can be traced to the fiscal collapse of New York City in the mid-1970s. The five boroughs were buried in unseen debt due to cash accounting practices that are no different from what is still being applied to the federal government now.
This is more than a cautionary tale. DioGuardi in Chapter Four “The Big Apple And Washington: One Bailout After Another” provides a meticulous schematic on what could go wrong nationally.
During the mid-seventies, Arthur Andersen(with the help of DioGuardi, then a partner, assigned to a team of CPA’s to figure out New York City’s true financial condition as a price for the U.S. bailout) had provided its own fiscal oversight as New York City fixed its fiscal problems. Arthur Andersen then began reviewing the federal government’s balance sheets. These audits revealed deeper problems were ahead for the U.S. government but nothing has changed along the Beltway. Congress has defied fiscal logic and piled more debt upon the balance sheet, a multi-trillion dollar tally. DioGuardi’s fiscal common sense is still useful.
This is a Reagan Republican’s story, a Jack Kemp conservative and a Bronx born activist who had previously rose to the top of his profession as a partner with the old Arthur Andersen at the age of 31. DioGuardi was one of the youngest partners at a “Big 8” firm when Andersen was the “Marines of the accounting profession” – when it meant something.
… And the fight to take back fiscal control is framed in Capra-esque terms by DioGuardi. The book is an easy read, not heavy on complex economics. Instead, it is full of useful metaphors and examples that current Tea Party activists can use in their protests.
DioGuardi’s rendering of America’s fiscal plight still rings true: Our elected officials, party leaders and supposed appointed experts still don’t have it right after 18 years!
DioGuardi references how the second Hoover Commission in 1956 called for Congress to take the Federal government off the cash accounting system. Nearly 40 years later, a newly Republican controlled Congress in 1994 would be advised by a private accounting firm that the books of the House of Representative were in such disrepair, that they “could not be audited.”
” … Price Waterhouse found that the House “lacks the organization and structure to periodically prepare financial statements that…are accurate and reliable” and that financial management information was “simplistic and ill-suited” for an organization with a billion dollar budget … ”
“Unaccountable Congress” calculates the Federal debt (including unrecorded and, of course, unfunded liabilities for Social Security, Medicare, Military and Civil Service pensions, and federal guarantees for Government Sponsored Enterprises like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) to be nearly five times the $14 trillion national debt reported by government officials as of September 30, 2010.
“ … The hole in our nation’s finances is really $56 trillion* once the unrecorded liabilities of about $45 trillion from Medicare and Social Security are factored into the equation.”
* estimated at $63 trillion at the date of this review
The “national debt” in 1969 was $365.8 billion. By the end of fiscal year 1991, as “Unaccountable Congress” had its first printing, the number was $3.662 trillion (not including Medicare, Social Security, military pensions and highway/transportation appropriations).
Call To Action For Tea Parties
DioGuardi was already organizing Tea Party minded protests in 1992. “Clean the House” was his rallying cry then. “Unaccountable Congress” details why. It’s about process, not politics.
DioGuardi authored a Chief Financial Officer’s Act in the mid-eighties that Congress ignored until 1989 to deal with the 1987 fiscal crisis – as if they had invented fiscal accountability overnight.
However, DioGuardi warns about the desperate need for a U.S. government-wide Chief Financial Officer (CFO) now – in a White House cabinet level position – someone who won’t be overruled by Congress or a stealthy executive branch. DioGuardi stresses the urgent need, now more than ever, to take responsibility for truthful accounting and accurate numbers away from those self-serving politicians who have a major conflict of interest in their perennial quest for re-election.
Is DioGuardi arguing for a fourth branch of government, an accounting branch that can serve as a procedural double-check for these thrifty D.C. spenders?
DioGuardi’s obsession is fiscal reporting. It’s less about numbers and more about clear information. Inherent with the title “Unaccountable … It doesn’t add up” is that the politicians aren’t telling us the truth.
Also inherent throughout “Unaccountable” is a call to action. Joe wants the people to shake up the system. He was clearly onto something in the 1980s and early 1990s that was way ahead of its time.
DioGuardi acknowledges how the framers of the U.S. Constitution got it right by deliberately limiting the power of the federal government in order to preserve freedom and specifically limit the burden of paying taxes.
“Limiting federal government power means limiting its size – an idea that has been forgotten or systematically rejected in the past 100 years.”
DioGuardi observes that the healthcare reform issue jolted many Americans out of the big government mindset. This former Congressman has wisely outlined a way out, a blueprint for change, and his advice should finally be heeded.
To protect themselves from the electorate, most members of Congress have modified the Biblical maxim from “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free” to “Ye shall NOT know the truth, for the truth will make you MAD.”
Long known for his admiration of Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, this Bronx-born Westchester County native has always been more apt to protest lawmakers and the establishment (something he additionally did bravely as a human rights activist overseas).
Firsthand, one only has to witness Joe DioGuardi at a human rights protest to appreciate his zeal for democracy. The same enthusiasm was found last year in suburban Westchester County (“the highest taxed county in the United States”) where he worked aggressively to downsize county government as a volunteer tea party activist (Rethinking Westchester County Government).
It could be argued happily that Joe DioGuardi was America’s first contemporary Tea Party activist. Whether defying Speaker Gingrich or a Serbian dictator, Mr. DioGuardi provides an entertaining read on what’s broken in our nation’s capitol in Unaccountable Congress.
How the passing of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will exacerbate America’s fiscal woes
by Colin Fuess
Economist Laurence J. Kotlikoff has been saying it for years: America is bankrupt, whether or not the government is willing to admit it. His most recent evaluation of its fiscal condition is terrifying: “Based on the [Congressional Budget Office’s] data, I calculate a fiscal gap of $202 trillion, which is 15 times the official debt.” That, says Kotlikoff, means America is in worse fiscal shape than Greece.
The reason for America’s fiscal train wreck is Congress’ deceptive accounting practices. In order to pass the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (or “the Act”), Congress fudged their numbers through tried-and-true methods.
The fate of the Act lied in reports from the Congressional Budget Office. If the CBO predicted that the Act would reduce the deficit, the Act would pass. On March 11, 2010, the CBO issued its projections: the Act would reduce the deficit $132 billion by 2019, and another $1.2 trillion in the decade following.
However, the CBO issued a far less favorable report on March 19. At the request of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the CBO analyzed the combined impact of the Act, the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (HCERA), and the Medicare Physician Payment Reform Act of 2009 (MPPRA): “CBO estimates that enacting all three pieces of legislation would add $59 billion to budget deficits over the 2010-2019 period.”
The CBO’s second report was ignored. On March 21, the House passed both the Act and the HCERA, both of which Obama signed into law shortly thereafter. By cherry-picking favorable numbers, Speaker Nancy Pelosi ramrodded the Act through the House and to Obama’s desk.
Another one of Congress’ fiscal gimmicks was delaying the bulk of the Act’s expenses until 2014. The CBO’s ten-year analysis, therefore, only accounts for six years of spending, making the Act’s costs far more palatable.
The purpose of reforms is to save money by eliminating waste in health care spending, yet the Act will make health care so complicated that this is laughably quixotic. The Department of Health and Human Services “doesn’t know how to do any of this,” says Edmund Haislmaier, a Senior Research Fellow at the Heritage Foundation. “The federal government doesn’t have any experience running insurance regulations.” Already the HHS has missed many self-imposed deadlines.
Furthermore, between now and 2014, the burden falls on the states to run complex high-risk health coverage pools. States must spend millions to research how to run them (itself an unprecedented undertaking). Washington has allocated $5 billion for the 7 million Americans who qualify, but according to a report by the National Institute for Health Care Reform, there will be only enough money to cover 200,000 of them.
One of Kotlikoff’s refrains is that if America is save itself from bankruptcy, it must “radically simplify its tax, health-care, retirement and financial systems, each of which is a complete mess.” Congress did the exact opposite, and it did so through self-serving gimmicks. They passed the Act without reading it, preparing for it, or considering the big financial picture. The Act is a thousand pages of unforeseen consequences, all of which will add to waste. This, combined with unrealistic or fudged fiscal projections, will drive us further into debt.
Soon, Washington might envy Greece.
From: Chuck Norris (Newsbusters.org)
The White House’s wish almost came true last week. It was hoping most of us and even the mainstream media would miss the release of the Congressional Budget Office’s preliminary report on the 2010 federal fiscal year. And most did.
The Wall Street Journal, however, exposed why the White House was being so secretive about its results: The CBO concluded that federal government spending has skyrocketed 21.4 percent in just the past two years since President Barack Obama took office!
The White House’s actions remind me of President Ronald Reagan’s words: “We could say they spend money like drunken sailors, but that would be unfair to drunken sailors. It would be unfair because the sailors are spending their own money.”
It’s no new revelation that Washington has lost its way from our Founders’ vision and fiscal frugality. But in the past two years, it has become a financial runaway train. And it is only we the people who can save it from completely derailing our country and all of us on board.
Last week, I discussed the first five steps to regain control of Washington’s insane spending and rebuild America’s economy. Though I encourage readers who didn’t read it to do so to get the details, I will summarize the first five points before I move on to the last three.
First, Washington should immediately stop any thought, form or legislation that would lead to more federal borrowing or bailouts — no exceptions.
Second, Washington should downsize the federal government by enacting tough spending caps and making across-the-board mandatory 10 percent cuts — no exceptions.
Third, Washington should immediately revise the 2011 federal budget to align with those priority reductions and eliminate absolutely all earmarks — no exceptions.
Fourth, Washington should engage in only non-debt-building actions and legislation that would immediately encourage Main Street and augment entrepreneurial incentives, including a commitment to never increase taxes for anyone for any reason but cut more taxes, which would provide immediate relief and increase revenues for everyone.
Fifth, Washington should discuss ways to encourage and equip interstate commerce and more collaboration among neighboring states, counties and communities — to brainstorm their own solutions to increase revenue and productivity in their own regions.
Sixth, we the people should hold Washington representatives accountable to our Founders’ fiscal prudence and federal frugalities, both by our vote and their passing and living under a constitutional amendment for a balanced federal budget, which would require them to live within their means. A balanced budget amendment also would cut up big daddy’s credit card in Washington with its unlimited credit limit.
Seventh, because we the people need to ensure our future economic stability and growth, we should seek to elect (or re-elect) only fiscally sound representatives who show proof of fiscal discipline, demonstrate a pay-as-you-go lifestyle and leadership, refuse under all circumstances to increase our national deficit and debts, disdain special interests, commit to live under a constitutional amendment for a balanced budget, understand how to grow jobs and the economy, and are willing to make the most difficult economic decisions.
We need to elect only leaders who would slash government spending and refuse to pay for programs that we cannot afford. We all must fight (once and for all) to elect fiscally prudent politicians like our Founders, those like Thomas Jefferson, who brought down the national deficit even though he made the Louisiana Purchase and engaged the U.S. in a war with Tripoli.
Jefferson’s warning about government debt and taxes is more apropos now than ever before: “To preserve (the) independence (of the people), we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude. If we run into such debts as that we must be taxed in our meat and in our drink, in our necessaries and our comforts, in our labors and our amusements, for our callings and our creeds, as the people of England are, our people, like them, must come to labor sixteen hours in the twenty-four, give the earnings of fifteen of these to the government for their debts and daily expenses, and the sixteenth being insufficient to afford us bread, we must live, as they now do, on oatmeal and potatoes, have no time to think, no means of calling the mismanagers to account, but be glad to obtain subsistence by hiring ourselves to rivet their chains on the necks of our fellow-sufferers.”
This brings me to my eighth critical step in reining in and controlling the federal government’s spending and rebuilding America’s economy. We must return to a pay-as-you-go government and nation. It’s our last resort for an out-of-control economy and government. As Jefferson once said, “the maxim of buying nothing but what we had money in our pockets to pay for (is) a maxim which, of all others, lays the broadest foundation for happiness.”
Friends, it’s not too late, but the window is closing fast. We likely have one more chance to drop our partisan divides and elect only those who would be strict constitutionalists and preservers of our Founders’ vision, principles and fiscal prudence, before the American economy and government collapse.
It is the last hour before the election, and we patriots need to reawaken our friends and neighbors to vote, as I called on Americans to do in my recent comical production “Trigger The Vote.”
For a voter guide detailing where candidates in your state stand on issues and the pros and cons of key propositions, go to http://www.ChristianVoterGuide.com.
Most of all, we patriots need to fight with all our might to ensure the election on Nov. 2 of those across this land who firmly believe, as Reagan did, that “government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.”
(I also encourage everyone to check out the trailers to two new patriotic films playing near you, “I Want Your Money” and “Battle for America.”)
To find out more about Chuck Norris and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at http://www.creators.com.
US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, in unveiling his long-awaited plan to put the US banking system back in order, has refused to tell the dirty little secret of the present financial crisis. By refusing to do so, he is trying to save de facto bankrupt US banks that threaten to bring the entire global system down in a new more devastating phase of wealth destruction.
The Geithner proposal, his so-called Public-Private Partnership Investment Program, or PPPIP, is not designed to restore a healthy lending system that would funnel credit to business and consumers. Rather it is yet another intricate scheme to pour even more hundreds of billions of dollars directly to the leading banks and Wall Street firms responsible for the current mess in world credit markets, without demanding they change their business model.
Yet, one might say, won’t this eventually help the problem by getting the banks back to health?
Not the way the Barack Obama administration is proceeding. In defending his plan on US TV recently, Geithner, a protege of Henry Kissinger and before his present posting president of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, argued that his intent was “not to sustain weak banks at the expense of strong”. Yet this is precisely what the PPPIP does. The weak banks are the five largest banks in the system.
The “dirty little secret” that Geithner is going to great degrees to obscure from the public is very simple. There are only at most perhaps five US banks that are the source of the toxic poison causing such dislocation in the world financial system. What Geithner is desperately trying to protect is that reality. The heart of the present problem, and the reason ordinary loan losses are not the problem as in prior bank crises, is a variety of exotic financial derivatives, most especially credit default swaps.
In the Bill Clinton administration of 2000, the Treasury secretary was Larry Summers, who had just been promoted from number two under former Goldman Sachs banker Robert Rubin to be number one when Rubin left Washington to take up the post of Citigroup vice chairman. As I describe in detail in my new book, Power of Money: The Rise and Fall of the American Century, to be released this summer, Summers convinced president Clinton to sign several Republican bills into law that opened the floodgates for banks to abuse their powers. The fact that the Wall Street big banks spent some US$5 billion in lobbying for these changes after 1998 was likely not lost on Clinton.
One significant law was the repeal of the 1933 Depression-era Glass-Steagall Act, which prohibited mergers of commercial banks, insurance companies and brokerage firms such as Merrill Lynch or Goldman Sachs. A second law backed by Treasury secretary Summers in 2000 was an obscure but deadly important Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000. That law prevented the responsible US government regulatory agency, Commodity Futures Trading Corporation (CFTC), from having any oversight over the trading of financial derivatives. The new CFMA law stipulated that so-called over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives like credit default swaps, such as those involved in the AIG insurance disaster, (and which investor Warren Buffett once called “weapons of mass financial destruction”), be free from government regulation.
At the time Summers was busy opening the floodgates of financial abuse for the Wall Street Money Trust, his assistant was none other than Tim Geithner, the man who today is US Treasury Secretary, while Geithner’s old boss, the self-same Summers, is President Obama’s chief economic adviser as head of the White House Economic Council. To have Geithner and Summers responsible for cleaning up the financial mess is tantamount to putting the proverbial fox in to guard the henhouse.
What Geithner does not want the public to understand, his “dirty little secret”, is that the repeal of Glass-Steagall and the passage of the Commodity Futures Modernization Act in 2000 allowed the creation of a tiny handful of banks that would virtually monopolize key parts of the global “off-balance sheet” or OTC derivatives issuance.
Today, five US banks, according to data in the just-released Federal Office of Comptroller of the Currency’s Quarterly Report on Bank Trading and Derivatives Activity, hold 96% of all US bank derivatives positions in terms of nominal values, and an eye-popping 81% of the total net credit risk exposure in event of default.
The top three are, in declining order of importance: JPMorgan Chase, which holds a staggering $88 trillion in derivatives; Bank of America with $38 trillion, and Citibank with $32 trillion. Number four in the derivatives sweepstakes is Goldman Sachs, with a mere $30 trillion in derivatives; number five, the merged Wells Fargo-Wachovia Bank, drops dramatically in size to $5 trillion. Number six, Britain’s HSBC Bank USA, has $3.7 trillion.
After that the size of US bank exposure to these explosive off-balance-sheet unregulated derivative obligations falls off dramatically. Continuing to pour taxpayer money into these five banks without changing their operating system, is tantamount to treating an alcoholic with unlimited free booze.
The government bailout of AIG, at more than $180 billion so far, has primarily gone to pay off AIG’s credit default swap obligations to counterparty gamblers Goldman Sachs, Citibank, JP Morgan Chase and Bank of America, the banks who believe they are “too big to fail”. In effect, these institutions today believe they are so large that they can dictate the policy of the federal government. Some have called it a bankers’ coup d’etat. It definitely is not healthy.
Geithner and Wall Street are desperately trying to hide this dirty little secret because it would focus voter attention on real solutions. The federal government has long had laws in place to deal with insolvent banks. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) places the bank into receivership, its assets and liabilities are sorted out by independent audit. The irresponsible management is purged, stockholders lose and the purged bank is eventually split into smaller units and when healthy, sold to the public. The power of the five mega banks to blackmail the entire nation would thereby be cut down to size. Ooohh. Uh Huh?
This is what Wall Street and Geithner are frantically trying to prevent. The problem is concentrated in these five large banks. The financial cancer must be isolated and contained by a federal agency in order for the host, the real economy, to return to healthy function.
This is what must be put into bankruptcy receivership, or nationalization. Every hour the Obama administration delays that, and refuses to demand a full independent government audit of the true solvency or insolvency of these five or so banks, costs to the US and to the world economy will inevitably snowball as derivatives losses explode. That is pre-programmed, as a worsening economic recession mean corporate bankruptcies are rising, home mortgage defaults are exploding, unemployment is shooting up.
This is a situation that is deliberately being allowed to run out of (responsible government) control by Treasury Secretary Geithner, Summers and ultimately the president, whether or not he has taken the time to grasp what is at stake.
Once the five problem banks have been put into isolation by the FDIC and the Treasury, the administration must introduce legislation to immediately repeal the Larry Summers bank deregulation including restoration of Glass-Steagall and the repeal of the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 that allowed the present criminal abuse of the banking trust.
Then serious financial reform can begin to be discussed, starting with steps to “federalize” the Federal Reserve and take the power of money out of the hands of private bankers such as JP Morgan Chase, Citibank or Goldman Sachs.
One of the most controversial and universally disliked provisions of the health care reform is the 1099 reporting mandate (found in Section 9006 of the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act”). It will require businesses to report all transactions of $600 or more with any vendor. This represents a huge additional burden on all businesses (especially small businesses), and it could mean the difference between staying afloat and going out of business.
In response to the stalemate in Congress over how to fix the problem that the mandate poses, hundreds of organizations and businesses have signed a petition urging their representatives in Washington to repeal the 1099 reporting mandate before it is too late.
See the petition letter at http://www.uschamber.com/issues/letters/2010/national-sign-letter-repeal-1099-provision-health-care-law
In the State Department’s Agency Financial Report for Fiscal Year 2009, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton writes in the introductory “Message from the Secretary”:
“We take seriously our duty to spend taxpayer dollars effectively, invest in our nation’s long-term success, and make our work transparent to Congress and the American people.” (page 2)
A labyrinth with glass walls is still a labyrinth.
That same financial report states the State Department’s budget rose 29% ($11.3 billion) between FY 2008 and FY 2009. Good luck finding where that $11.3 billion went.
The sheer number and volume of State Department and Government Accountability Office (GAO) documents is dumbfounding. The State Department’s own documents are scattered around its website. If you have a budget question, you have to find out if it is in an Executive Budget Summary, a Budget in Brief, or an Agency Financial Report (they are different things). Each one is between 130 and 180 pages.
The GAO, meanwhile, has 150 reports on the State Department dating from January 2008 to August 2010. The grand total is just shy of 7,000 pages (two reports only have summaries posted online). If one reads twenty-four hours a day at twenty pages per hour, it would take over two weeks to read all that.
The State Department issued 2.7 million fewer passports in FY 2009 than in FY 2008 (down 17% from 16.2 million to 13.5 million). Want to find out why? Want to find out if the State Department spent more money or less money processing passports in 2009? Since January 2009, the GAO has written nine relevant reports (229 pages). Topics range from vulnerabilities in passport issuance processes to the surge in demand for visas and passports in Mexico. One report from June 2010 is entitled “Current Situation Results in Thousands of Passports Issued to Registered Sex Offenders.” By the way, at least 4,500 registered sex offenders were issued passports during FY 2008. Hopefully some of the State Department’s budget increase is going towards fixing that little problem.
The State Department “makes its work transparent to Congress and the American people,” but how can we ever be sure? If their work were less than transparent, one would have to read thousands of pages to prove them wrong.